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After bursting on the scene at only 26 weeks, Burke had Stage 3 Bilateral IVH (brain bleeds) which resulted in a cerebral palsy diagnosis at about 12 months of age. When he was 18 months old, his mom Melissa knew she wanted him to start hippotherapy, and TherAplay was the only group in their city that would work with kids as young as Burke. Melissa and Burke have since had such remarkably positive experiences with their occupational and physical therapist teams that they decided to become PLAE-it-forward ambassadors in support of TherAplay.
Photos care of Melissa French
In circumstances like those in which Gadi’s parents found themselves after the birth of their darling boy, community often becomes more important to many of us than ever before. Gadi was born premature at 31 weeks. After spending 4.5 weeks in the NICU, he was sent home with his parents Sylvia and Aron, the doctors assuring them that everything was fine. While they were thrilled to have their baby home, Sylvia and Aron noticed that something was not quite right with his development. Gadi’s pediatrician explained that Gadi’s issues were due to being born early and told his parents everything would get easier, but that simply was not happening. Sylvia says, “After taking him for an early intervention evaluation and to several specialists, we finally got some answers.”
When their son Gadi was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) at seven months old, Sylvia remembers feeling “very lost and alone. It was not easy for us to ask for or take any help, but when I finally made the call I was glad I did. Chai Lifeline made us feel like we belonged and gave us the support we needed.”
Photos care of @lifewithgadi IG
Only one year ago, in July of 2017, a conference was held for families and individuals impacted by a chromosome 17q12 disorder. Those in attendance had come from all corners of the United States and were just meeting for the first time at the conference, but they shared common goals and quickly formed a board consisting of four parents and a genetic counselor. Within six months, they received the official 501(c)3 designation from the IRS to operate as a nonprofit organization by the name 17q12 Foundation.
Photos care of Liz Fourie
Nicole was devastated when her son Casper was diagnosed with clubfoot in week 20 of her pregnancy. She kept telling herself, “It could be worse,” but she was simultaneously eager to get his treatment over and done with so she and her family could move on with their lives and never have to think about it again. After all, her doctors had assured her it would be an “easy fix."
Photos care of Nicole Bytnerowics